Womans Own Magazine, January 1999
Stephanie Ozturk, 31, from Croydon, South London, had no problems getting pregnant with her first son, Sami, now six. But it was a different story when she and her husband Mustapha, 39, tried to have a second child.
‘We were thrilled when I discovered I was pregnant again a year after Sami was born. So when I miscarried at three months I was devastated. After that my periods became erratic – either three or five weeks apart – I got constant headaches and nausea and I still couldn’t conceive. For three years Mustapha and I went through all sorts of tests. Although they discovered I had only one ovary, they said I should still be able to have another baby. The doctor was no help at all and told me: “I know what your problem is, you’re suffering from mild depression because you’re obsessed with getting pregnant.”‘
‘All he did was refer me back to the hospital – at the end of a seven-month waiting list. I was angry and frustrated. I felt no one was listening to me. That’s when I decided to give Chinese herbal medicine a try. I’ve always had an open mind about alternative therapies, although I had never actually tried one.’
‘I used to pass a Chinese clinic on my way to the shops, so one day I popped in and made an appointment with Professor Duo Gao. He said he and his colleagues had treated hundreds of infertile women and they had an 80 per cent success rate. He explained that Chinese herbs rebalance the whole body, which often means they sort out hormonal and reproductive problems.’
‘Professor Gao checked my pulse and looked at my skin and eyes. We talked about my medical history and he listened far more carefully than any conventional doctor I’d visited. He said that I had hormonal problems and my whole body was ‘blocked’. He said my erratic periods meant my uterus was not building a proper lining, so there was nothing for an egg to implant in. I left with a bag of herbs, which Mustapha and I called my Chinese takeaway.’
‘I had to drink tea made from them twice a day. It tasted disgusting. After three months, however, my headaches disappeared and my periods became regular again. For the first time in years, I felt really well. I had another appointment for two months later, when I was given herbal pills specifically designed to stimulate the reproductive system. That same month I discovered I was pregnant. Anthony was born last July, and he’s totally gorgeous. I can’t imagine life without him now. We’re so glad we tried something different. The treatment cost £400 – but that’s nothing compared to the joy of having a baby.’